I keep glancing nervously at the clock. 4 hours to go. Now only 3 hours. 2.5. Even as I write this, my eye wanders every now and then to the digital clock in the corner of the computer screen. It is my last day at Wide Angle Youth Media as an intern, hence the dramatic countdown. It might seem like an ordinary day to any other, peace in the office, perhaps the faint sound of typing. But for me, today marks the end of an era (or rather, six weeks). My time here has taught me so much and changed so much about the way I see Baltimore. I’ve made friends and have found mentors.
Before, Baltimore was a mystery to me. I rarely strayed from my little house in the suburbs. Every time I ventured into the city, I was confronted with my own unfounded fears. Wide Angle has exposed me to the true Baltimore culture – students, business, and art – things that give life to the city and help it grow. I feel that now I can finally understand the city. I enter it cautiously, but no longer afraid. Much of this exposure came in the form of special projects. I worked closely with AOL for Monster Help Day, creating a gorgeous gallery space for Wide Angle’s work. I also attended a conference for student athletes where I assisted with a program about combating bullying in schools. Meeting successful students and professionals made me proud to be a Baltimorean.
Other days, I was in the office staring at a computer screen for hours. However, with cushy chairs, Pandora radio, and the smiling faces of the Wide Angle staff, the (occasionally monotonous) work was truly enjoyable. I’ve learned skills instrumental to any future career – writing blog posts, working directly with companies to plan events, emailing organizations, and the ever-important skill of sorting file folders. I even took the plunge into the social media world. My previous engagement was limited to one nearly empty Facebook profile. Now I am the author of several (hopefully) witty Facebook and Twitter posts about Baltimore arts events. I’ve basically become a calendar; ask me about an event, and I can tell you the exact date and time.
The students I’ve met here amaze me. They are some of the nicest and smartest individuals I have ever met. Where in other experiences I have felt like the ‘plague-ridden newbie’, an individual to be avoided for my nerdy habits, these students welcomed me with open arms. (Literally. Constant hugging.) Immediately, I became part of the crew, even with my constant rants about medieval monarchies and my love of calculus.
And now the clock continues to chip away at my remaining minutes. Soon, I will leave this desk and the swivel chair that has become my own and enter the world of college academia. But I will never forget my time here or the people and things I’ve come to know. – Emelia Lehmann